Monitoring Access to Shared Folders

Thursday Oct 19th 2000 by Brien M. Posey

Monitoring server resources can help you keep an eye on whos using what, as well as aid in planning for server growth.

From time to time, it's necessary to take a good hard look at who is accessing what on your network. There are several reasons for doing this. First, if you're doing server maintenance, you may need to see if users are using a resource before making that resource unavailable. You may also want to keep an eye on who's using what for security purposes, or you may need to plan for server growth. Whatever your reason, the ability to monitor server resources is very important. In this article, I'll show you how to monitor server resources in a Windows 2000 environment.

"You may want to keep an eye on who's using what for security purposes, or you may need to plan for server growth. Whatever your reason, the ability to monitor server resources is very important."

The Computer Management Snap-In

As with many other system aspects, you can monitor your shares through the Computer Management snap-in for Microsoft Management Console. You can access this snap-in from of the Start menu at Programs|Administrative Tools|Computer Management. Once you've loaded the Computer Management console, navigate to Computer Management|System Tools|Shared Folders|Shares.

This portion of the console lists all the share points that exist on the server. From here, you can view such details as the share name, the physical location of the shared folder, and any comments related to the share. More importantly, though, you can view the number of clients attached to a given share under the # Client Redirections column.

If you're having trouble with a particular share point, you might look at the number of clients that are accessing the share. You can then right-click on the share and select Properties from the resulting context menu. When you do, you'll see the share's properties sheet. This properties sheet will show you the same basic information that you've already seen, but will also display the maximum number of clients that are allowed to access the share point. You can use this number to determine if you're having trouble with the share because too many people are trying to use it. You can also use this properties sheet to view things like the share's security and cache settings.

Send a Message

I mentioned earlier that you may sometimes need to see who's accessing a share so that you can disconnect them in order to do some maintenance. However, simply disconnecting a user often leads to data loss. It's often best to send the user a message first and allow them to exit from the folder gracefully rather than forcing a disconnect. To send a user a message, navigate through the console to Computer Management|System Tools|Shared Folders and right-click on Shared Folders. On the resulting context menu, select All Tasks|Send Console Message. A dialog box will open in which you can type your message and select a message recipient.

Sometimes, however, a message simply doesn't work. For example, a user might be away from his desk when the message arrives. If you have to forcefully disconnect a user, you can do so by navigating through the console to Computer Management|System Tools|Shared Folders|Open Files. Now, right-click on Open Files and select the All Tasks|Disconnect All Open Files command from the context menu.

As you can see, the ability to see who is accessing what is very handy. Once you know how to use the features I've discussed, you may wonder how you ever got along without them. //

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer. His past experience includes working as the director of information systems for a national chain of health care facilities and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.

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